Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A genus of gymnospermous plants, of the order Cycadaceæ and tribe Zamieæ, made by some a tribe Stangerieæ. It is characterized by a strobile with scales imbricated in alternating series, a thick naked napiform caudex, and leaf-segments with a strong midrib and numerous unbranched or forking nerves. There are one or two species, natives of Natal. They are singular plants with the smooth irregular trunk only about a foot high or nearly subterranean, from which rise a few coarse long-stalked pinnate fern-like leaves, inflexed in the bud, the leaflets straight in the bud, linear-lanceolate, scalloped, spinytoothed or cleft, and traversed by parallel forking veins. The fruit, a thick downy strobile or cone, is borne on a stalk snrrounded by circular concave woolly bracts overlapping in two or three ranks. The male plants bear cylindrical cones with numerous stamens on the under side of their compound scales. S. paradoxa, in allusion to its thick, ronnd caudex, is called
Hottentot's-head; small articles, as necklaces and snuff-boxes, are sometimes made from its seeds.
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